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Chile

Tour Code: CHL01

A 17-day birdwatching tour visiting coastal and montane habitats from the arid north to the sub-Antarctic south of this beautiful country.

dates & prices to be confirmed Land Only Price: £ SRS: £


The topography of Chile is amazingly varied, incorporating hot desert, towering mountain peaks and sub-Antarctic steppe, all within the boundaries of one country. During this tour we search for such specialist inhabitants of the high Andes as Diademed Sandpiper-plover and Vicuna, sail in Pacific waters filled with seabirds, and explore the windy southern extremity of Tierra del Fuego, the haunt of penguins and sealions. This will be a tour of fascinating contrasts and the range of habitats visited will be reflected in the long and varied bird list which includes albatrosses, penguins, Condors, Rheas and a number of Chilean endemics.

  • Enjoy a spectacular range of scenery
  • Large birdlist includes Chilean endemics and high altitude specialists
  • Many interesting mammals include Guanaco and Vicuna in the Andes
  • Pelagic excursion into the Pacific Ocean in search of seabirds
  • Enjoy penguins and sub-Antarctic specialities in Tierra del Fuego
  • Unique flora
  • Spectacular coastal and Andean scenery
  • Excellent cuisine and Chilean wines

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Comfortable tourist hotels, most with private facilities.

Torres del Paine (Fantastico Sur)

Torres del Paine (Fantastico Sur)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Santiago

Day 2 Santiago

Day 3 Arica

Day 4 Putre

Day 5 Lauca National Park

Day 6/7 Quinteros

Day 8 Santiago

Day 9/10 Puyehue National Park

Day 11 Punta Arenas

Day 12 Porvenir

Day 13 Punta Arenas

Day 14/15 Santiago

Day 16 Depart Santiago

Day 17 Arrive London

The topography of Chile is one of the most extraordinary of any country in the world, a ribbon of land stretching over 4,000 kilometres from the arid Atacama Desert in the north to the sub- Antarctic islands of the south. Nowhere more than 180 kilometres wide, the country is separated from neighbouring Argentina by the high mountains of the Andes which create some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in South America. Thanks to this unusual geography, and a comprehensive domestic airline network, it is possible to visit a wide range of habitats within the constraints of a 17-day holiday and this exciting tour effortlessly exchanges Andean snow-line for the seabird filled waters of the Pacific, before travelling south to explore the wild coastline and beech forests bordering the Straits of Magellan at the very tip of the continent. As we move from one stunning vista to another, the quality of the birdwatching matches the magnificence of the landscape and the holiday bird list is likely to include such sought-after species as Andean Condor, Inca Tern, Andean Avocet, Magellanic Plover and the peculiar Diademed Sandpiper-plover.

Our tour begins in the Chilean capital, Santiago, but we soon leave the sprawling city behind and fly to Arica, a coastal town in the north of the country. Boobies and cormorants occur here in large numbers forming one component of a fine selection of seabirds and shorebirds, that further includes the local Band-tailed Gull and the beautiful Inca Tern. Temporarily forsaking the coast we then travel into the mountains to spend a few days exploring the very scenic Lauca National Park, which nestles amid the snow-capped volcanoes of the altiplano at an elevation of between 3,000 and 6,000 metres. The leisurely drive from Arica will take us through a succession of vegetation zones, the landscape initially sparsely vegetated apart from scattered cacti but becoming progressively more verdant as we increase in altitude. Andean Condor, Peruvian Thick-knee, Torrent Duck and Giant Hummingbird are just a few of the spectacular birds likely to be encountered during this picturesque ascent. In scenes that seem to epitomise the high Andes, we should also find domestic herds of Alpaca and Llama on the mountain slopes together with smaller parties of wild Vicuna, Guanaco and Viscacha. Lake Chungara, inside the park, is one of the highest lakes in the world and full of such interesting birds as Giant Coot, flamingoes, Andean Gull, Andean Avocet and many other high-altitude waterbirds. We will visit the lake and the nearby mountain village of Parinacota before beginning our descent to the coast, stopping along the way for any interesting roadside birds.

The nutrient-rich coastal waters of central Chile rank as one of the most outstanding areas for seabirds in South America and we will undertake a short pelagic outing from our next destination, the port of Quinteros. The variety of seabirds is always unpredictable but with the likely appearance of albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels and skuas we are assured an interesting voyage. Before returning to Santiago we will explore the oak woodlands of La Campana National Park where six of the nine endemic birds of Chile may be found.

A flight to the southern town of Osorno will be followed by a drive through a wild landscape of blue lakes and towering volcanoes to spend two nights near the Puyehue National Park. This is an area much beloved of skiers but for us the attraction will be the southern beech forests surrounding our hotel, where a number of Andean specialities such as Chucao Tapaculo and Black-throated Huet-huet await our discovery.

Flying south over glaciers and mountains we finally arrive at Punta Arenas, the last major habitation in Chile, on the shores of the Magellan Straits. This wild and beautiful region enjoys a capricious climate, exposed as it is to weather fronts blowing in from Antarctica, but calm sunny days are not as rare as the latitude suggests and we will hope for plenty of these during our visit! In these southern climes we have a whole new range of birds to see including such highlights as Magellanic Penguin, Southern Giant Petrel, Magellanic Plover, Kelp Goose and Flightless Steamer-duck. An excursion across the Straits of Magellan to Porvenir in Tierra del Fuego will be an unforgettable experience, enhanced by a wealth of bird sightings, superb scenery and the appearance of marine mammals such as Commerson’s Dolphin and Southern Sea Lion. An overnight stay in Porvenir will further increase our chances of seeing the diverse mix of seabirds, wildfowl, waders and specialised land birds characteristic of this unique southern extremity of the continent.

We fly back to Santiago after savouring the ornithological delights of the south but one last experience awaits as we pay a brief visit to the high mountain slopes of the Cordillera de los Andes near the capital. Here this immensely varied tour concludes amid a typically magnificent landscape frequented by Diademed Sandpiper-plover, seedsnipe and many other high-altitude birds.

Andean AvocetAndean CondorInca TernKelp GooseTorrent DucksVicunaCommerson's DolphinLake ChungaraMagellanic PenguinsPeruvian Thick-kneeSouthern Giant PetrelViscachaGuanaco (Dani Free)Rhea (Dani Free)Guanacoes
V.M.
Merseyside
Thank you for your input into the trip to Chile, which taking the considerable logistics into account went extremely well. The birding was good and Mario’s persistence in getting the endemics and some of the difficult to see birds was admirable ... The Aracana area was fascinating and there was superb birding on the coast.
A.W.
Merseyside
It was a wonderful holiday.
Mr A.
Kent
We loved it.
D.N.
Bristol
Lan Chile flights excellent.
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We will be running this tour in the near future but as yet have not finalised dates and prices. To register your interest and be added a waiting list to be informed when details are confirmed, please contact us or phone 01962 733051.

Visiting: Chile

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Paul Stanbury
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01962 733051

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Tour Reviews

Thank you for your input into the trip to Chile, which taking the considerable logistics into account went extremely well. The birding was good and Mario’s persistence in getting the endemics and some of the difficult to see birds was admirable ... The Aracana area was fascinating and there was superb birding on the coast.
V.M., Merseyside